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Grade Inflation and Education Quality


  • Raphael Boleslavsky

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

  • Christopher Cotton

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)


We consider a game in which schools compete to place graduates in two distinct ways: by investing in the quality of education, and by strategically designing grading policies. In equilib- rium, schools issue grades that do not perfectly reveal graduate abilities. This leads evaluators to have less-accurate information. However, compared to fully-revealing assessments, strategic grading motivates greater investment in educating students. Although strategic grading distorts placement decisions, it can also increase graduate ability. Allowing grade in ation and related grading strategies can increase the probability that the evaluator selects a high-ability graduate.

Suggested Citation

  • Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2012. "Grade Inflation and Education Quality," Working Papers 2012-2, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:2012-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Liad Wagman & Vincent Conitzer, 2012. "Choosing fair lotteries to defeat the competition," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 41(1), pages 91-129, February.
    2. Emir Kamenica & Matthew Gentzkow, 2011. "Bayesian Persuasion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2590-2615, October.
    3. Erik Hanushek & F. Welch (ed.), 2006. "Handbook of the Economics of Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1, June.
    4. Curtis R. Taylor & Huseyin Yildirim, 2011. "Subjective Performance and the Value of Blind Evaluation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 762-794.
    5. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
    6. Michael Ostrovsky & Michael Schwarz, 2010. "Information Disclosure and Unraveling in Matching Markets," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 34-63, May.
    7. Dubey, Pradeep & Geanakoplos, John, 2010. "Grading exams: 100,99,98,... or A,B,C?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 72-94, May.
    8. Erik Hanushek & F. Welch (ed.), 2006. "Handbook of the Economics of Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 2, number 2, June.
    9. Talia Bar & Vrinda Kadiyali & Asaf Zussman, 2012. "Putting Grades in Context," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 445-478.
    10. Juan-JosÈ Ganuza & JosÈ S. Penalva, 2010. "Signal Orderings Based on Dispersion and the Supply of Private Information in Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 1007-1030, May.
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    More about this item


    Grade Inflation; Effort; Education Investment;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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